Limping along to the holidays (16/12/2021)

and other funny stories from France
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It is the last newsletter of 2021 as we’re hobbling along to Noël and counting down the greek alphabet. I hope you and yours are doing well where ever in world you are.

School in France is out at the end of the week, and then it is holidays, baby, till the start of the new year! Or at least, it is holidays for the kids, with the parents trying to wrap up year-end projects, and the grandparents roped into babysitting duty. All the while trying to organize that big festive dinner and wrapping up les cadeaux.

The Champs-Elysées may have its lights up, but two years into this crazy life event we are all experiencing, it remains a socially distanced holiday. Le sigh.

The 5th wave is upon us in France, and the American CDC has placed France on a travel advisory level 4, aka “Do not travel”. Which is a little strange considering that over 88.8% of the French population over 12 is doubly vaccinated and almost everyone is wearing masks in enclosed spaces.

Those expecting a U.S.-France submarine-gate like franco outrage however, over this travel warning, would be mistaken. I think we’ve all become so resigned to this déja vu feeling, nobody can be bothered anymore.

If you are planning on visiting France over the holiday season, remember to equipe yourself with a “pass sanitaire” passport that you will need to get into any bar/restaurant/museum/etc. (From what I understand, foreign vaccine passports are generally being accepted, or you can go into a local pharmacy in France and see if they will convert it to an EU vaccine passport.)

Even this writer is ready to shrug her shoulders and say “meh”. The tree is up, the vin chaud is warm, the shops are vaunting their “click and collect” schemes, and the boosters are open to everyone who wants them.

Let’s hope that 2022 restores some normalcy, shall we!? Here’s to keeping our fingers (and toes) crossed!

In other news:

– If you were wondering how French football is going after our last newsletter, the big decision came in last night, just in time for me to give you an update. I know you were waiting on pins and needles.The big heads of the government (French Sports Minister, Interior Minister, and Minister of Justice) have gotten together with Ligue 1 officials to announce:

  • no more plastic water bottles in stadiums,
  • matches where the player or referee is hurt will immediately end,
  • decisions to end matches will occur within 30 minutes of the incident.

Now you may be wondering why Ligue 1 couldn’t come with such banal rules by themselves, and why the French government had to step in an area that is wholly within the jurisdiction of the French football clubs. You would not be incorrect. However, please refer to my comment in last week’s newsletter about how “when there is a problem, we call the govt.”

BFMTV wrote an article on how country line dancing music is taking off in France (in French). I’m not actually sure this is new, I remember at least 10 years ago when there used to be line dancing at the Paris-La Defense 4Temps mall everyday at lunch time, for bored office workers.They’ve put in new restaurants now, and all those office workers are now on hybrid-work-from-home schedules, but somewhere and someplace the country line-dancing continues.

– The French overseas territory of Nouvelle Caledonie held an 3rd referendum on declaring independence. The result was an emphatic “non”, with at 96.5%, because the “yes” camp asked their own supporters not to show up to vote.

Voter turnout stood at a mere 43.9%. This isn’t the 1st referendum however, there were 2 previous referendums held in 2018 and 2020, in which the “no” vote got 57% and 53% respectively.

What is interesting however, is that here in mainland France there was not much discussion of this referendum, or the previous 2 for that matter, in the run-up to it. Just a few articles on it on the day of referendum, and that is it. (Certainly nothing like the Quebec referendums or Scottish referendums in recent memory.)

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And with that, have a very happy holiday season and stay safe where ever you are! Bonne fêtes!

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A bientôt!


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